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our turkeys

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  • Steve Hampton
    Here s a Q&A from the Calif Dept of Fish and Game s website that discusses the origin of our turkeys. I pass this on FYI. I have nothing to do with turkey
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 14, 2011
      Here's a Q&A from the Calif Dept of Fish and Game's website that
      discusses the origin of our turkeys. I pass this on FYI. I have
      nothing to do with turkey introduction, know very little about it, and
      cannot answer questions about it.

      Question: I have a few questions about putting Eastern wild turkey
      poults out on private land. I just love to hunt them. There are turkeys
      out there already but I would like for there to be a lot more. How or
      what can be done to get more turkeys planted on the property? (Joe D.)

      Answer: Permission will not be granted to any person to release turkeys
      into the wild that have been domestically reared for propagation or
      hunting purposes. Only turkeys trapped from the wild by the Department
      of Fish and Game (DFG) may be released into the wild (California Code of
      Regulations Title 14, section 671.6 (b)).

      According to DFG Turkey Program Manager Scott Gardner, besides being
      illegal, releasing captive-reared turkey poults will not ultimately
      produce more turkeys in the wild, and could actually harm the wild
      population. Beginning in the 1920s, DFG raised turkeys and other game
      birds and released them into the wild. By 1951, DFG and other wildlife
      agencies stopped the practice because it wasn’t resulting in
      self-sustaining wild populations of turkeys. In 1959, DFG started
      importing and releasing the Rio Grande subspecies of wild turkeys that
      were trapped in the wild in Texas. Wild trapped birds were highly
      successful and virtually all of California’s current wild turkey
      population came from these releases.

      Game birds imprint on their mothers immediately after hatching and they
      learn behaviors necessary to survive in the wild in the first few days
      of life. Captive-reared birds do not develop the survival skills that
      are learned from a hen in the wild, and most will not survive. Domestic
      turkeys have higher rates of disease which is a risk to the wild
      population, and breeding with them would decrease genetic fitness of the
      wild population. Wild turkeys thrive where habitat is good, and they
      need a mix of trees, grasslands and water.

      Steve Hampton
      Resource Economist
      Office of Spill Prevention and Response
      California Dept of Fish and Game
      PO Box 944209
      Sacramento, CA 94244-2090
      (916) 323-4724 phone
      (916) 324-8829 fax
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